Too Many Girls


1h 25m 1940
Too Many Girls

Brief Synopsis

Four college football stars are hired to chaperon a reckless heiress to a Wild West college.

Photos & Videos

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Oct 8, 1940
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the musical Too Many Girls by George Marion, Jr., music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart (New York, 18 Nov 1939).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Synopsis

Connie Casey, a high-spirited, headline-chasing heiress, keeps her manufacturing-tycoon father busy worrying about her. Deported from Europe for her antics, Connie decides to enroll in her father's alma mater, Pottawatomie College, in Stop Gap, New Mexico, in order to be near her latest heart throb, British playwright Beverly Waverly. In desperation, Mr. Casey hires Clint Kelly, Jojo Jordan, Manuelito and Al Terwilliger, the pride of the Ivy League college football teams, to act as Connie's bodyguards. After signing an "anti-romantic" clause in their contracts, the boys arrive at Pottawatomie to discover the worst football team in the West. Unable to resist the game, Manuelito joins the team, soon followed by Clint, Jojo and Al. After a short time, the Pottawatomie team begins to wipe up the field with their opponents and headlines of the team's success reach the East. Meanwhile, Clint begins to fall in love with Connie and decides that he must resign from his contract with Mr. Casey. Soon after, Connie learns the terms of Clint's business arrangement with her father and angrily insists that her bodyguards leave town before the day of the big game. Learning of their players' plans, the townfolk pursue the boys, who are caught by Beverly and returned just in time for the game. Encouraged by Connie's declaration of love, Clint leads the team to victory and wins the girl's heart.

Photo Collections

Too Many Girls - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from Too Many Girls (1940), starring Lucille Ball and Richard Carlson (and Desi Arnaz in a supporting role). Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Too Many Girls - Pressbook
Here is the campaign book (pressbook) for Too Many Girls (1940). Pressbooks were sent to exhibitors and theater owners to aid them in publicizing the film's run in their theater. This pressbook was prepared for the 1957 reissue.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Oct 8, 1940
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the musical Too Many Girls by George Marion, Jr., music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart (New York, 18 Nov 1939).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Articles

Too Many Girls


Without a doubt, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were truly the "Royal Couple of American Television." The groundbreaking success of I Love Lucy set the standard for all subsequent sit-coms, as well as securing Ball's reputation as one of the most gifted comediennes in television history. The formation of Desilu Productions, the high-profile arrival of Lucy and Desi's two children, and a communist scandal scare were just a few of the notable events that occurred during the phenomenal twenty-year partnership of this number one couple. Yet the source of all of the drama, laughs, awards, notoriety, and fireworks can all be traced to a 1940 film called Too Many Girls. A musical comedy by Rodgers and Hart, this film adaptation of the Broadway show is famous as the film that introduced up-and-coming actress Ball to the relatively unknown Arnaz. But what a meeting! Within the year, the two were married and on their way to successful careers in show business.

Director and Producer George Abbot, known as the "Wizard of Broadway," had also produced the stage version of Too Many Girls, and brought Arnaz and co-star Eddie Bracken from the hit show to star in the movie. Fellow actors Hal LeRoy, Libby Bennett, Ivy Scott, Byron Shores, and an unknown Van Johnson also reprised their roles. With the exception of LeRoy, this was the film debut for all the actors. As a chorus boy, a red-headed Van Johnson made such an impression upon studio executives that he was offered a studio contract as a result of his performance. Other additions included Ann Miller, renowned for her tap dancing skills, and Richard Carlson, an actor best remembered for appearing in 3-D horror/sci-fi flicks like Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) and It Came From Outer Space (1953). Finally, rounding out the cast was Lucille Ball, cast in the lead role as a heiress who pays a visit to Pottawatomie College in Stopgap, New Mexico, where she is shadowed by four bodyguards in disguise. After working in the film industry for seven years, Ball was finally gaining popularity and garnering favorable reviews with her work.

However, from the first meeting between Lucille and Desi (cast in the supporting role of Manuelito Lynch), there were definitely fireworks. After the encounter, Arnaz promptly advised Abbott to fire Ball, having surmised that she was "too tough and common for the role." Abbott wisely did not heed Desi's input, but he was forced to make some changes to the plot to please the Hollywood executives. In the Broadway version, the wearing of beanies denotes virgin girls; in the film version the beanies were indicators that the wearers had never been kissed. The name of the production, however, remained the same, which was rather appropriate in Desi's case. At the time of meeting Ball, he was engaged to a dancer, Renee De Marco, and he had already gained quite a ladies' man reputation by dating women like Betty Grable among others. At a pool party thrown by Eddie Bracken, however, Ball was not deterred by the competition. Patting the sand beside her, she told Desi to sit down. He did, and they left together a few hours later - his engagement to De Marco effectively ended.

The electricity between the two did not go unnoticed by the cast; in fact, their co-stars placed hefty wagers about the duration of the relationship. Eddie Bracken would ultimately win the bet, as he guessed the longest amount of time: six months. The tumultuous union between Ball and Arnaz would ultimately end, but only after twenty years, five Emmys, and an indelible mark on television history. Detractors cited such reasons for the break-up as too much jealousy, too much work, and too much distrust. For whatever reason it ended, however, it all began with Too Many Girls.

Producer: George Abbott, Harry E. Edington
Director: George Abbott
Screenplay: George Marion, Jr. (author of the musical play), John Twist
Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase
Cinematography: Frank Redman
Film Editing: William Hamilton
Original Music: Richard Rodgers
Principal Cast: Lucille Ball (Consuelo 'Connie' Casey), Richard Carlson (Clint Kelly), Ann Miller (Pepe), Eddie Bracken (Jojo Jordan), Frances Langford (Eileen Eilers), Desi Arnaz (Manuelito Lynch), Hal LeRoy (Al Terwilliger).
BW-86m. Closed captioning.

by Eleanor Quin

Too Many Girls

Too Many Girls

Without a doubt, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz were truly the "Royal Couple of American Television." The groundbreaking success of I Love Lucy set the standard for all subsequent sit-coms, as well as securing Ball's reputation as one of the most gifted comediennes in television history. The formation of Desilu Productions, the high-profile arrival of Lucy and Desi's two children, and a communist scandal scare were just a few of the notable events that occurred during the phenomenal twenty-year partnership of this number one couple. Yet the source of all of the drama, laughs, awards, notoriety, and fireworks can all be traced to a 1940 film called Too Many Girls. A musical comedy by Rodgers and Hart, this film adaptation of the Broadway show is famous as the film that introduced up-and-coming actress Ball to the relatively unknown Arnaz. But what a meeting! Within the year, the two were married and on their way to successful careers in show business. Director and Producer George Abbot, known as the "Wizard of Broadway," had also produced the stage version of Too Many Girls, and brought Arnaz and co-star Eddie Bracken from the hit show to star in the movie. Fellow actors Hal LeRoy, Libby Bennett, Ivy Scott, Byron Shores, and an unknown Van Johnson also reprised their roles. With the exception of LeRoy, this was the film debut for all the actors. As a chorus boy, a red-headed Van Johnson made such an impression upon studio executives that he was offered a studio contract as a result of his performance. Other additions included Ann Miller, renowned for her tap dancing skills, and Richard Carlson, an actor best remembered for appearing in 3-D horror/sci-fi flicks like Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) and It Came From Outer Space (1953). Finally, rounding out the cast was Lucille Ball, cast in the lead role as a heiress who pays a visit to Pottawatomie College in Stopgap, New Mexico, where she is shadowed by four bodyguards in disguise. After working in the film industry for seven years, Ball was finally gaining popularity and garnering favorable reviews with her work. However, from the first meeting between Lucille and Desi (cast in the supporting role of Manuelito Lynch), there were definitely fireworks. After the encounter, Arnaz promptly advised Abbott to fire Ball, having surmised that she was "too tough and common for the role." Abbott wisely did not heed Desi's input, but he was forced to make some changes to the plot to please the Hollywood executives. In the Broadway version, the wearing of beanies denotes virgin girls; in the film version the beanies were indicators that the wearers had never been kissed. The name of the production, however, remained the same, which was rather appropriate in Desi's case. At the time of meeting Ball, he was engaged to a dancer, Renee De Marco, and he had already gained quite a ladies' man reputation by dating women like Betty Grable among others. At a pool party thrown by Eddie Bracken, however, Ball was not deterred by the competition. Patting the sand beside her, she told Desi to sit down. He did, and they left together a few hours later - his engagement to De Marco effectively ended. The electricity between the two did not go unnoticed by the cast; in fact, their co-stars placed hefty wagers about the duration of the relationship. Eddie Bracken would ultimately win the bet, as he guessed the longest amount of time: six months. The tumultuous union between Ball and Arnaz would ultimately end, but only after twenty years, five Emmys, and an indelible mark on television history. Detractors cited such reasons for the break-up as too much jealousy, too much work, and too much distrust. For whatever reason it ended, however, it all began with Too Many Girls. Producer: George Abbott, Harry E. Edington Director: George Abbott Screenplay: George Marion, Jr. (author of the musical play), John Twist Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase Cinematography: Frank Redman Film Editing: William Hamilton Original Music: Richard Rodgers Principal Cast: Lucille Ball (Consuelo 'Connie' Casey), Richard Carlson (Clint Kelly), Ann Miller (Pepe), Eddie Bracken (Jojo Jordan), Frances Langford (Eileen Eilers), Desi Arnaz (Manuelito Lynch), Hal LeRoy (Al Terwilliger). BW-86m. Closed captioning. by Eleanor Quin

TCM Remembers Van Johnson - Important Schedule Change on TCM In Honor To Salute VAN JOHNSON


Turner Classic Movies Pays Tribute to Van Johnson on Tuesday, December 23rd with the following festival of films. This program will replace the previously scheduled movies for that day so please take note.

The new schedule for the evening of Tuesday, December 23rd will be:
8:00 PM In the Good Old Summertime
9:45 PM A Guy Named Joe
12:30 AM Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
2:30 AM The Last Time I Saw Paris
4:30 AM Thrill of a Romance


Van Johnson (1916-2008)

Van Johnson, the boyish leading man whose clean cut, All-American appeal made him a top box-office draw for MGM during World War II, died on December 12 in Nyack, New York of natural causes. He was 92.

He was born Charles Van Dell Johnson on August 25, 1916, in Newport, Rhode Island. By his own account, his early childhood wasn't a stable one. His mother abandoned him when he was just three and his Swedish-born father offered little consolation or nurturing while he was growing up. Not surprisingly, Johnson found solace in singing and dancing lessons, and throughout his adolescence, he longed for a life in show business. After graduating high school in 1934, he relocated to New York City and was soon performing as a chorus boy on Broadway in shows such as New Faces of 1936 and eventually as an understudy in Rodgers and Hart's musical, Too Many Girls in 1939.

Johnson eventually made his way to Hollywood and landed an unbilled debut in the film version of Too Many Girls (1940). By 1941, he signed a brief contract with Warner Bros., but it only earned him a lead in a "B" programmer Murder in the Big House (1941); his contract soon expired and he was dropped by the studio. Johnson was on his way back to New York, but as luck would have it - in the truest Hollywood sense - friends Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz introduced him to Billy Grady, a lead talent scout at MGM, which was currently Ball's new studio. Johnson was signed up and almost immediately MGM had a star on its hands.

It might have been slow going at first, with Johnson playing able support in films such as Dr. Gillespie's New Assistant and The War Against Mrs. Hadley (both 1942). By 1943 the studio capitalized on his broad smile and freckles and starred him in two of the studio's biggest hits: A Guy Named Joe and The Human Comedy. Those two films transformed him into a boxoffice draw with a huge following, particularly among teenage girls. A near fatal car accident that same year only accentuated the loyalty of his fans, and his 4-F status as the result of that accident created an opportunity for him when so many other leading actors of the era (James Stewart, Clark Gable) were off to war. Johnson was quickly promoted as MGM'sleading man in war heroics and sweet romancers on the big screen: The White Cliffs of Dover, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (both 1944), Thrill of a Romance, the episodic Week-End at the Waldorf (both 1945), and a musical remake of Libeled Lady entitled Easy to Wed (1946).

Hits though these were, it wasn't until after the war that Johnson began to receive more dramatic parts and better material such as supporting Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in the political farce State of the Union (1948). other significant roles included the well-modulated noir thriller The Scene of the Crime, the grim war spectacle Battleground (both 1949), the moving domestic drama Invitation (1952) in which he played a man who is paid to marry a woman (Dorothy McGuire) by her father. Before he left MGM, he closed his career out in fine form with the sweeping musical Brigadoon, co-starring Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse; and the lilting soaper The Last Time I Saw Paris (both 1954) with Elizabeth Taylor.

After he left MGM, the parts that came Johnson's way weren't as varied, but he had his moments in The Caine Mutiny (1954), the beguiling romance drama Miracle in the Rain (1956) with Jane Wyman; and his lead performance in one of the first successful made for-TV-movies The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1957). By the '60s, Johnson returned to the stage, and played the title role in London's West End production of The Music Man. He then returned to Broadway in the drama Come on Strong. He still had a few good supporting parts, most notably as Debbie Reynolds' suitor in Norman Lear's scathing satire on marital differences Divorce American Style (1967); and television welcomed his presence on many popular shows in the '70s and '80s such as Maude, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat and of course Murder She Wrote. There was one last graceful cameo in Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), yet for the most remainder of his career, Johnson worked mainly on the dinner theater circuit before retiring from showbiz completely by the mid-90s. He is survived by a daughter, Schuyler.

by Michael T. Toole

TCM Remembers Van Johnson - Important Schedule Change on TCM In Honor To Salute VAN JOHNSON

Turner Classic Movies Pays Tribute to Van Johnson on Tuesday, December 23rd with the following festival of films. This program will replace the previously scheduled movies for that day so please take note. The new schedule for the evening of Tuesday, December 23rd will be: 8:00 PM In the Good Old Summertime 9:45 PM A Guy Named Joe 12:30 AM Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo 2:30 AM The Last Time I Saw Paris 4:30 AM Thrill of a Romance Van Johnson (1916-2008) Van Johnson, the boyish leading man whose clean cut, All-American appeal made him a top box-office draw for MGM during World War II, died on December 12 in Nyack, New York of natural causes. He was 92. He was born Charles Van Dell Johnson on August 25, 1916, in Newport, Rhode Island. By his own account, his early childhood wasn't a stable one. His mother abandoned him when he was just three and his Swedish-born father offered little consolation or nurturing while he was growing up. Not surprisingly, Johnson found solace in singing and dancing lessons, and throughout his adolescence, he longed for a life in show business. After graduating high school in 1934, he relocated to New York City and was soon performing as a chorus boy on Broadway in shows such as New Faces of 1936 and eventually as an understudy in Rodgers and Hart's musical, Too Many Girls in 1939. Johnson eventually made his way to Hollywood and landed an unbilled debut in the film version of Too Many Girls (1940). By 1941, he signed a brief contract with Warner Bros., but it only earned him a lead in a "B" programmer Murder in the Big House (1941); his contract soon expired and he was dropped by the studio. Johnson was on his way back to New York, but as luck would have it - in the truest Hollywood sense - friends Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz introduced him to Billy Grady, a lead talent scout at MGM, which was currently Ball's new studio. Johnson was signed up and almost immediately MGM had a star on its hands. It might have been slow going at first, with Johnson playing able support in films such as Dr. Gillespie's New Assistant and The War Against Mrs. Hadley (both 1942). By 1943 the studio capitalized on his broad smile and freckles and starred him in two of the studio's biggest hits: A Guy Named Joe and The Human Comedy. Those two films transformed him into a boxoffice draw with a huge following, particularly among teenage girls. A near fatal car accident that same year only accentuated the loyalty of his fans, and his 4-F status as the result of that accident created an opportunity for him when so many other leading actors of the era (James Stewart, Clark Gable) were off to war. Johnson was quickly promoted as MGM'sleading man in war heroics and sweet romancers on the big screen: The White Cliffs of Dover, Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (both 1944), Thrill of a Romance, the episodic Week-End at the Waldorf (both 1945), and a musical remake of Libeled Lady entitled Easy to Wed (1946). Hits though these were, it wasn't until after the war that Johnson began to receive more dramatic parts and better material such as supporting Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in the political farce State of the Union (1948). other significant roles included the well-modulated noir thriller The Scene of the Crime, the grim war spectacle Battleground (both 1949), the moving domestic drama Invitation (1952) in which he played a man who is paid to marry a woman (Dorothy McGuire) by her father. Before he left MGM, he closed his career out in fine form with the sweeping musical Brigadoon, co-starring Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse; and the lilting soaper The Last Time I Saw Paris (both 1954) with Elizabeth Taylor. After he left MGM, the parts that came Johnson's way weren't as varied, but he had his moments in The Caine Mutiny (1954), the beguiling romance drama Miracle in the Rain (1956) with Jane Wyman; and his lead performance in one of the first successful made for-TV-movies The Pied Piper of Hamelin (1957). By the '60s, Johnson returned to the stage, and played the title role in London's West End production of The Music Man. He then returned to Broadway in the drama Come on Strong. He still had a few good supporting parts, most notably as Debbie Reynolds' suitor in Norman Lear's scathing satire on marital differences Divorce American Style (1967); and television welcomed his presence on many popular shows in the '70s and '80s such as Maude, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat and of course Murder She Wrote. There was one last graceful cameo in Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), yet for the most remainder of his career, Johnson worked mainly on the dinner theater circuit before retiring from showbiz completely by the mid-90s. He is survived by a daughter, Schuyler. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

I'm president of the student body and prepared for almost ANY sacrifice.
- Eileen Eilers

Trivia

Trudy Irwin dubbed Lucille Ball's singing.

Based on a 1939 broadway play featuring Desi Arnaz and Eddie Bracken.

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz first met on the set of this movie.

The musical play opened on Broadway in New York on 18 November 1939. Eddie Bracken, Desi Arnaz, Hal LeRoy, Libby Bennett, Ivy Scott, Byron Shores and 'Johnson, Van' reprised their stage roles for this movie. Except for Hal LeRoy, the movie was the film debut for each of these actors.

Notes

According to a news item in Hollywood Reporter, RKO paid $100,000 for the rights to the play. Another item in Hollywood Reporter notes that camerman Russell Metty briefly took over shooting for Frank Redman when Redman had to attend a funeral. Eddie Bracken, Desi Arnaz, Hal LeRoy, Libby Bennett, Ivy Scott, Byron Shores and Van Johnson all reprised their stage roles for this picture, which marked the feature film debut of all but LeRoy, and director George Abbott produced the original stage version. Modern sources add that Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, who were married in 1941, met while filming this picture.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1940

Released in United States on Video September 27, 1989

Released in United States 1940

Released in United States on Video September 27, 1989